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Leading Thai virologist warns of third wave, says herd immunity will take 2 years at current vaccination rate

Maya Taylor

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Leading Thai virologist warns of third wave, says herd immunity will take 2 years at current vaccination rate | Thaiger
PHOTO: Vincent Vega on Flickr

A prominent Thai virologist says the Kingdom could be hit by a third and even a fourth wave of Covid-19, warning that rapid vaccination is the only solution. Yong Poovorawan from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University says the latest resurgence of the virus in Bangkok is an example of the risk the country faces. Yesterday, the number of infections associated with nightlife establishments in the capital rose to 250. As a result, pubs and other entertainment venues in 3 districts have been shut for at least 2 weeks.

Yong says Thailand is likely to experience a steep increase in Covid-19 numbers this year, due to people becoming complacent about the risk and letting their guard down. He says nightlife venues are a particular risk, given that noise levels mean people have to stand close to each other and shout to be heard. Furthermore, revellers tend to move from one party to another, potentially spreading the virus.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Yong says a lot of time, money, and effort will go into curtailing the spread of infection during the forthcoming Songkran holiday, when millions will travel across the country to visit their home provinces. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says there will be no ban on people travelling to visit their elderly relatives but says travelling to party is strongly discouraged.

Meanwhile, Yong is concerned about Thailand’s vaccination progress, saying at the current inoculation rate, it could take the Kingdom 2 years to achieve herd immunity. In the interim, third and fourth waves of Covid-19 may strike.

Nation Thailand quotes data from Bloomberg that indicates that as of April 2, only 0.3% of Thais (204,642 people) have been inoculated since mass vaccination began on February 28.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Chupapi

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    When virologists try to be epidemologists…

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    The virologist is right.
    So far Thailand has vaccinated .36 percent of the population – pitiful!
    And they are going to put a satellite up?
    They cannot even read maps!

  3. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    2 years? Recent reports show that the vaccination is effective for at least 6 months, with no idea for how long it actually will be effective – that’s not taking into consideration the variants that are and will pop up.

    All in all, two years seems quite optimistic…but hey, let’s make sure the Phuket, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai cash cows are covered.

  4. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    I very much doubt ‘Herd Immunity’ is going to be even possible to attain with this virus, especially considering its virility (11 x more virulent than the Flu) and its ability to mutate at the speed it is currently achieving. I do hope I’m wrong for all our sake, but to date have not made any widely incorrect predictions/comments.

  5. Avatar

    Rick

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    There is a very easy way to stop this “pandemic” without jabbing people with dangerous experimental vaccines. Simply stop testing people with a test that does not work and claiming that people are “infected” when they are not.

  6. Avatar

    BS

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    That is correct- they cant even find their own country on world map . . I shpwed two thais world map once they said : what is this ? am not joking !
    big mouth speak bragging- as its a world leader country – but its stil a 3 rd world country and wil hardly change ever..

  7. Avatar

    James R

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Rick

    That is a very good idea, thanks.

    I will not have to cut the lawn in my back garden anymore, all I have to do is stop checking to see if it needs cutting as it won’t need cutting if I do not check on it according to your methods, I can just assume it is not growing.

    Have you written to the WHO with your findings and methods?

    I am sure they would love to know how to do deal with viruses.

  8. Avatar

    BangkokB

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Most of the world will never reach herd immunity due to variants, length of vaccine effectiveness and the population is continuously growing (faster than vaccination)

  9. Avatar

    Rick

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:10 am

    James

    Do you think you could come up with a more rediculous argument? But sure. let’s put our trust in the WHO – an incredibly corrupt organization currently headed by a man with no medical training who commited acts of terrorism against people in his home country. Not to mention that the second largest funder of the WHO is Bill Gates, who is heavily invested in, and stands to make a fortune from, wait for it… the Covid vaccines!
    The real virus is ignorance and, unfortunately, there is no vaccine for that.

  10. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 5:02 am

    So Thailand is not only slow in vaccinating people, it was also late to start (Feb 28). Malaysia next door has vaccinated 1.7%, Indonesia 3.4% and Singapore 19% (first doses). And these countries don’t depend on tourism as much as Thailand. Grade? F (leniently D).

  11. Avatar

    Ben

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Sorry Rick, we can’t ignore all the dead bodies and our ICU’s full of patients. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away. The USA has lost over 556,000 people. Your view of the world is very skewed and I’m glad you’re not in any kind of responsible role. Where do people like you come from?

  12. Avatar

    Ben

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7:49 am

    Thailand dropped the ball on the vaccination front when it didn’t aggressively open its checkbook early on and secure the necessary contracts for vaccine supplies. They wanted to wait until the vaccine situation had more clarity and by then it’s too late and now they’re at the back of the line.

    Countries that appear to be having more COVID waves are those that are having vaccine rollout problems. The USA, UK and Israel are no longer in the news. Now it’s France, Germany, India, Brazil, etc. that are still battling and locking down.

    Rick – Bill Gates doesn’t need anymore money and he isn’t a funder of the WHO.

  13. Avatar

    Rick

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Say Ben, where do ignorant people like you come from? Here is a quote that you can find about The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by doing even a quick search:

    “Second only to the USA, the BMGF is one of the largest donors to the World Health Organization (WHO) and paid it more than $200 million in 2018 – more than Germany, France and Sweden combined in the same period. But this is not the only way in which the WHO is financed by Gates. GAVI, formerly known as the “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization”, provided the WHO with an additional $150 million in 2018. One of GAVI’s main donors is again the BMGF, with $1.5 billion in 2016, for example.”
    Not only that but there is a video interview of Gates on CNBC Business News where he gushes about making 200 billion on his initial investment of 10 billion on vaccines.
    Like svery other scam poeple need to follow the money but no one seems to notice how much is being made on the fake “pandemic” and who is profiting. Once again, ignorance is the real virus.

  14. Avatar

    Chupapi

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Why users like Rick are allowed to write false claims and spread disinformation and distorted reality? Ban these crooks! Shame on you, thaiger, let pass these stupidity = endorse them.

  15. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Latest news suggests the Thai authorities are delaying vaccinations, so they can sell vaccinations.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide

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Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide | Thaiger
PHOTO: 3 million Covid-19 deaths recorded around the world.

Today marks a grim milestone as the Covid-19 pandemic officially crosses 3 million deaths around the world, with outbreaks still surging in various parts of the world. Over a year into the pandemic, and we are currently seeing over 700,000 new infections and 12,000 deaths per day, with Brazil, India, and France facing growing crises.

The 3 million figure reflects official numbers, though many suspect that real totals could be much higher, pointing at government conspiracies and early deaths that were not attributed to Covid-19 when little was known about the novel coronavirus in the early days.

Still, the official number is overwhelming enough – equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine, or the state of Arkansas in the US, and larger than world cities like Lisbon, Caracas, Dubai, Manchester or Chicago. Imagine nearly one-third of the people in Bangkok wiped out, or the entire nation of Armenia or Jamaica.

Following a steep decline in both new infections and deaths at the start of this year, the graph is again in an upward trajectory, both in terms of new cases and deaths from Covid.

Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide | News by ThaigerThe World Health Organisation laments the dire condition of the world dealing with the pandemic after 16 months and so many opportunities to prevent the spread with basic safety precautions. Brazil has spiralled out of control, racking up 3,000 deaths a day, nearly 25% of all the Covid-19 deaths in the world in the past few weeks. New variants have been spreading like wildfire throughout Brazil as more dangerous strains have wriggled their way into countries around the world.

In India, the distribution of vaccines has been thwarted by swelling Covid-19 outbreaks and deaths. In New Dehli, 13,000 infections were reported in a day amongst the 29 million residents, but the city only has 178 ventilators available as of Wednesday.

Only 1.1% of the Indian populations has been vaccinated, and officials faced criticism of their vaccine exports while so many need jabs domestically. In Thailand, the percentage of people vaccinated is even lower.

700 million vaccines have been distributed worldwide, but they have been shipped disproportionately to the wealthier populations throughout the world. In rich countries, 1 in 4 people have been vaccinated, while in poor countries that number is less than 1 in 500. In fact, 87% of the vaccines distributed worldwide have been to wealthy nations, and the delays in India due to increasing Covid-19 deaths will not help close that gap for many months to come.

SOURCE: Sky

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals

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Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Artist rendering of a "hospitel" - a hotel converted to a hospital.

With the third wave of Covid-19 ripping through Thailand, hospitals are rapidly filling up and the Thai Hotels Association has proposed “hospitels” as a creative solution. The portmanteau of “hospital” and “hotel” is the THA’s brainchild for creating more space for the growing number of Covid-19 infections that require treatment or at least observation as Thailand hits record daily case numbers. The idea of turning hotels into temporary hospitals was promoted by association president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi this week.

“The move aims to reduce crowdedness at hospitals and promote continuous care for Covid-19 patients after new cases increased rapidly since late March.”

23 hotels have already registered to be hospitals, with 2,000 patients currently receiving treatment in the 4,900 available beds. The Ministry of Public Health laid out guidelines for hotels interested in participating. Hotels must have a minimum of 30 rooms and pass the alternative state quarantine evaluation. The ASQ-approved properties must have evidence of acknowledgement by the surrounding community to confirm their validity and eligibility. The hotel must be able and willing to take care of hospitalised patients for 5 to 7 days, even with no signs of symptom progression. Conversely, patients checking in must agree to stay in the hotel and be relatively self-sufficient.

Strict medical requirements must be met as well. Each patient must be provided with their own digital thermometer and pulse oximeter, and a portable x-ray machine must be available. The hotels must be staffed like hospitals, with at least one doctor, a clinical psychologist, a pharmacist, a radiologist, and an infection control nurse. There must also be one nurse per every 20 patients staying at the property.

This proposed solution might provide a welcomed supplement to the rudimentary field hospitals the Thai army has been hastily building to accommodate the influx of newly infected patients. While the quick work is commendable, some have hypothesized that at-risk foreigners may be ignoring calls to come forward for Covid-19 testing in part because being diagnosed may land them in these less-than-posh field hospitals for days on end. A more comfortable “hospitel” would allow infected foreigners to be treated in more pleasant surroundings thus encouraging them to come forward for testing.

SOURCE: National News Bureau and Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Tim Newton

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Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break. | Thaiger

…. before the next round of restrictions come into force at midnight tonight.

Bangkok and 17 other Thai provinces (there are 77 in total) are now declared maximum control areas. These “red zones” are the feature of the Thai Government’s new restrictions to get a grip on its rising Covid infection numbers since the start of April. The restrictions will last for at least 14 days.

From tonight, at midnight, some new restrictions are in force, not only in the red zones but every where else.

Think nightlife, think gatherings of more than 50 people, think restaurants. These are the area the government has generally targeted. The CCSA spokesperson yesterday, and the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, went out of their way to portray the new restrictions as NOT curfews and NOT lockdowns. But, if you live in a red zone province, including Bangkok, then the new set of restrictions are a lockdown in just about every sense without outright telling people to stay at home.

Everything will have to be closed from 11pm – 4am in the morning, including all convenience stores. Hope you’ve paid your Netflix subscription!

The government is also advising businesses in Bangkok, and other red zone provinces, to allow employees to work from home, or have adequate precautions in place if they need to work in the offices.

Unlike the last two outbreaks of Covid within Thailand, this cluster has emerged from the indulgences of Bangkok’s hi-sos, celebrity and look-at-me culture. The trendy clubs around Thong Lor and Ekkamai are the destination for people that want, or need, to be seen, including some politicians who have either ended up infected or knew someone in the club and pub scene and have had to self-isolate.

The late evening sojourns, with nary a care for masks or social distancing, small spaces, lots of people… it has proven the perfect breeding ground for a new Covid cluster.

Bangkok’s legendary shopping centres and community malls will have to shut their doors by 9pm, a situation now across the board for all Thai shopping centres including places like your local Tesco mall.

But convenience stores, supermarkets, community markets can stay open until 11pm.

At this stage people are being advised not to travel to Bangkok, or any other red zone province, for the next 2 week (after midnight tonight). The travel advisory isn’t an order at this stage, more of a hurry-up-and-get-back-from-your-holidays request.

Last weekend saw the mass exodus out of the city. The same return from the provinces is happening today and tomorrow. Even though the official Songkran holiday ran from Tuesday to Thursday this week, plenty of people have take the Mondays and Friday off last week to end up with an extended 9 day holiday. The government was hoping the longer Songkran break would be a boon for the shattered hospitality and tourism businesses. But last weekends sudden climb of new Covid infections caused some people to cancel or postpone their bookings.

The annual Songkran road toll, usually a national disgrace, was cut by over 50% this year due to the lack of traffic and people deciding to wait it out and catch up with their families later.

Thailand recorded 1,547 new infections around Thailand today, a slight drop from yesterdays’ 1,585 reported new cases. But the last 4 days have revealed the largest list of daily infections since the first case was detected in Thailand on January 13 last year, a 61 year old Chinese passenger on a flight from Wuhan to Suvarnabhumi – the first known case of the novel coronavirus outside of China.

2 leading police from the Thong Lor police station have already been sidelined into inactive posts, a face-saving measure to show the government were being pro-active in reacting to the sloppy enforcement (or non-existent enforcement) of Covid precautions in the district’s active nightlife. Officials are also tracking down the owners of the nightclubs and bars for potential prosecution, principally around Bangkok and in Phuket where parties, promoted and run by a group called ‘Kolour’ ended up becoming Covid spreader events.

Here’s a list of the red zone provinces.

1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chon Buri
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

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